Thursday, January 22, 2015

toilettereads: December 2014


More under the cut (spoiler-free, hurray!) for the actual reads of last month.

1. Tampa by Alissa Nutting
I've been wanting to read this for a long time, but I could never justify making a full-priced purchase. Luckily, I scored this at half off, and it was a hardbound edition at that! (I'm a sale whore.) Tampa is the story of an 8th-grade teacher who is sexually -- and I mean sexually -- attracted to her pre-pubescent male students. I found it interesting in that we're dealing with a female sexual predator; most cases I've come across have said predators being male.

I found this to be a very interesting read as we get to pick the brain of a sexual predator; a woman, who, by regular standards, would have been considered relatively normal, had it not been for her unusual 'fetish,' so to say. On some other degree, I feel like this is another case of society's standards dictating our lifestyle choices. I mean, think about it. Pedophilia equals bad because we've all been raised with that norm. What if it were the opposite? The same goes with incest.

Not that I support pedophilia or incest -- I personally know someone who was sexually abused in their childhood, and I really don't support incest as it just messes up genetics down the road. But... Am I the only one who has considered this side of things? That maybe some -- definitely not all, I think -- of the things we believe to be morally wrong are perceived as such because of how our society dictates our morals etc???

OMG AM I A CREEP FOR THIS PERSPECTIVE??? ---> And this is why Tampa is a stimulating read, and I don't mean that in a dirty way.

Unsurprisingly, this book has been compared to Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, obviously because of the whole attraction-to-kids theme. I've heard that Lolita is heartbreaking and emotional, which really makes me want to read it all the more because Tampa was very sexual.

Interestingly, this book was based off of an actual sexual predator case. Even more intriguing is the fact that the author went to high school with said predator.

2. The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
Total packaging buy, but the story really intrigued me too. In normal Murakami fashion, this book has some really kooky themes, and it felt surreal... borderline creepy, even, especially with that book keeper/librarian guy forcing the protagonist to read against his will.

3. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
As I went into this without as high of an expectation as I did with Anna, I feel like I enjoyed this one a little better. With Anna, I was very critical about practically everything, so I pretty much didn't get to experience the 'magic' it had to offer. I found that I could relate a bit to Lola because of her quirky preferences in clothes; I don't like calling myself so and so or anything, but I could just personally relate to Lola.

It's no secret that the protagonists from the first book make appearances in this second book, and the same can be said for the third book. I find that this gives the entire series an air of predictability; if we know that the protagonists make a cameo in the second book, then it's painfully obvious that they're going to end up together before their own book concludes. But then, even without this knowledge, it's already clear that they're gonna get together one way or another. It's a fluffy, YA contemporary. Of course they're gonna end up together.

(Also because there will be hell to pay if they don't.)

4. The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore
This is without its dust jacket 'cause I got this secondhand and the jacket was all jank and torn, so I got rid of it. This is only the second book of Moore's that I've read, and it was still one that I enjoyed. I obviously read this for its holiday theme, but I went into it with completely wrong expectations. The premise was essentially a little boy witnessing Santa's murder (or so he thinks) and encountering some Christmas angel and wishing for Santa to come back to life.

Initially I thought this was going to be some Home Alone thing where the angel and the little boy get to know each other and cause havoc. While The Stupidest Angel really did involved a dumbfuq of an angel, it's actually only a small part of the entire novel. I mean, okay, the angel's stupidity was a major catalyst for the book's events, but there was actually so much more than that.

I think I still liked A Dirty Job more than this, but this was still very enjoyable, especially for the Christmastime. I really did not anticipate the events that brought us towards the climax, which was such a fun sort of unexpectedness.

5. Damascus Nights by Rafik Schami
Admittedly, I read this partially because I was watching Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic. In spite of that, I still enjoyed this read. Damascus Nights involves a protagonist who is an incredible storyteller, but one day loses his voice, so it's up to his friends to weave their own tales to tell as a means of breaking the 'spell.' I found the protagonist to be very endearing, and the ending was one of those 'the journey is more important than the destination' kind of deals, which sometimes leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but it was rather fitting for a story like this.

6. Stupid Is Forever by Miriam Defensor-Santiago
DA BEST. DIS OUR QUEEN MIRIAM!!!!!! This is a collection of jokes and pick-up lines and some of this lady's speeches. The speeches were insightful and inspiring, and some of the jokes and pick-up lines were so good. They were the kind that would make you go OMGLMFAO and/or OMGBURRRRN. My favorite is the one about the math problem. (Ang crush parang math problem, kung di mo makuha, titigan mo nalang.)

7. The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch
I only managed to finish 2.5/5 of the series in December, but as of this blog post I've already read all the books, so this is gonna be a collective sort of sum-up. Now, as this is a middle grade series, the writing is fitting for such a level. Having long graduated from that grade, this felt a little juvenile. It was very reminiscent of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, which I absolutely loved, so I'm not sure if I didn't enjoyed The Secret Series as much only because of a difference in current the time of my life.

Sometimes, PB's butting into the story was annoying. That, and I found some of the events that took place to be highly unbelievable. I mean, are these kids really capable of doing this and that? Really?

BUT! By the time I finished the third book, I found that the characters were already growing on me. By the fourth book, I really began to like these protagonists. And by the time I finished the entire series, I felt sad that the adventure was over. And you know a book is good when it gives you that kind of feeling post-reading. I went into this feeling bland about it, but when it was over I found that I really liked it.

As for the actual secret of the book itself... I thought it was trolling me, but upon deeper reflection, it held very valuable meaning. One that I believe is the good kind of moral of the story to impart upon its readers, especially for its target market.


Really spectacular reading month, December 2014. (Then again, the books I read were either really short or really easy reads.) I started December 2014 on a really bad note -- a really bad one, so much that I ended up doing some retail therapy to remedy it. It was the kind of horrible that even my parents enabled said retail therapy. It was just... bad.

Sad stuff aside, I've set a reading goal of accomplishing 50 reads in 2015. Pretty ambitious, considering I fell short of last years unofficial 24-book quota. I also intend to read at least 5 classics this year, seeing as my classical reads roster is pretty much non-existent.

I also made a Goodreads account, which has been helping me keep track of my progress. So far, so good!

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